Season likely to restart after testing begins
Tuesday, 19th May 2020 22:53 by Tim Whelan
Only six Premier League players have tested positive and testing in the Championship is about to start. But that hasn’t stopped Hull City becoming the first club to openly call for the season to be scrapped.
The results of the first round of testing are in and it has been announced that six people have tested positive out of 748 players and other staff, and they are at three different clubs. It’s not clear if these include the three Brighton players we already knew about. The sick six will now have to self-isolate for seven days before being retested.
These figures are good enough for the Premier League to continue with their plans to restart to flight football, and BBC Sport journalist Simon Stone has revealed that the Championship will begin testing in the next couple of days, and all being well will give the green light for training to begin on Monday next week.
The Athletic have given a few further details, saying that players will be tested twice a week but will also be subjected to temperature checks and a medical questionnaire every day. And the Premier League’s medical advisor Dr Mark Gillett said “If a player tests positive it’s only him and his family who need to isolate, not anybody else.”
But it seems that these precautions aren’t enough for Hull City, who have become the first Championship club to call for the rest of the season to be scrapped. The Tigers’ vice-chairman, Ehab Allam, has written to the EFL chairman Rick Parry outlining his “serious concerns” about restarting the season.
"I do not presently believe that the 2019/20 season can be safely completed without unnecessarily exposing Championship clubs to potential legal action in the event that one or more of its employees (or their family members) were to become infected with COVID-19. I am against the 2019/20 season being completed under the present circumstances and in light of the wider public health issues facing the United Kingdom at the present time.”
Only a cynic would suggest that Hull are taking this stance to try to save themselves from relegation, after their freefall down the table since selling their two best players in January, without replacing them. Once Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki had left they have failed to win a single game, and they are now 21st in the table, two points above the bottom three.
So they would stay up if the season finished now, even if relegation was decided on a PPG basis, but given their recent form it’s highly likely they would be overtaken by at least one of the bottom three if the season starts up again. Is this a case of self-interest dressed up as principle? You decide.
Though I think the way that Hull City have been run into the ground by the Allam family in the last few years it might be kinder to relegate them now to spare them the embarrassment of finishing miles adrift at the bottom of the Championship next season. At least if they went down to League One they might have a chance of picking up one or two points when they get there.
It's claimed that Hull have the backing of up to four other Championship clubs, but hopefully they won’t have the numbers to bring the season to a halt, and we will still get the chance to go back on the pitch and get promotion done.
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